Detroit Pistons guard Reggie Jackson has a stress reaction in his lower back and will be out for at least four weeks.— Shams Charania (@ShamsCharania) November 2, 2019
Prior to the season starting, we talked about how the Pistons would need all of their shot creators - Reggie Jackson, Derrick Rose, Luke Kennard, and Blake Griffin - to be playing and playing well for the team to make noise in the regular season. This news throws that scenario out the window, and throws the regular season into (more) turmoil.
First, we should acknowledge how much this sucks for Reggie, who played all 82 games last year, changed his style of play to fit onto the Blake Griffin Pistons, and is on a contract year this season. You image he, more than anyone, wanted to show exactly what he was capable of this season.
Second, we should talk about what comes next for this team without Reggie. Ben Gulker and I talked a little bit about what a team without Reggie might do on one of the pre-season DBB Podcasts. We agreed that a Bruce Brown - Luke Kennard backcourt holds a lot of intrigue, and it still does, despite Bruce’s (VERY) slow start to the season. However, that pairing makes more sense in a lineup where Blake Griffin is the “real” guy who runs the offense, and Blake isn’t available right now (although it sounds like he could be back sooner rather than later).
Another complicating factor in what happens next is the sensational play of Derrick Rose, who has been the Pistons’ second-best player by miles in his minutes off the bench. With as well as Rose has played to start the year, you understand why he COULD start for the Pistons.
For now, though, I think the safest thing to predict moving forward is what we’ve seen in Detroit’s recent Reggie-less past: Tim Frazier starts and plays limited second-half minutes, Derrick Rose comes off the bench and closes games, and Bruce Brown fills in some of that time in-between. The Pistons have made a (wise) commitment to keeping Rose’s minutes (but not his workload) low, and starting him makes that difficult. The literal reason you brought Tim Frazier in was to be a low-cost option at point guard if one of your point guards went down. Now that that’s happened, it makes sense to trust the plan you put in place before the season starts.
One final thing I’ve been mentally kicking around: The Rose-Kennard pairing off the bench worked excellently, and Luke has not looked as comfortable in the starting lineup since he was moved there. I would not be surprised if, at some point, Dwane Casey elevates Langston Galloway into the starting lineup alongside Frazier. Galloway has hit his threes (39% before the Brooklyn game tonight), defends, and has mixed up his shot diet juuuuust enough to not be so predictable offensively. And bringing Luke off the bench helps Rose out by giving him another perimeter threat to play alongside - again, that pairing worked excellently to begin the season.
No matter what, though, this injury news is bad for the Pistons. Hopefully, the plans they made in the offseason are solid.